China can ensure a 1.5 ° C world – and continue to dominate the global clean energy supply chain – pv magazine International


IEA report outlining two paths for China to reach net zero tries to persuade policymakers to achieve that goal by 2050, rather than ten years later, and dangles the prospect of global domination continues as the primary reward offered.

“There is no plausible way to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius without China,” notes the first line of a landmark report released by the International Energy Agency (IEA ) which claims to chart a course to net zero for the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter.

A roadmap for the energy sector towards carbon neutrality in China envisages two possible paths to achieve the climate change ambitions announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping last year: an “announced political scenario” (APS) based on the government’s stated ambitions, and an “accelerated transition scenario” (ATS) more ambitious which illustrates the potential for China to boost its goal of net zero.

Interestingly, while the report repeatedly emphasizes the importance for China of working hand-in-hand with its global partners to tackle climate change, the section devoted to persuading policymakers in Beijing to move towards the ambitions high off the ATS route, swings the carrot of the continued globalization dominance of the clean energy sector.

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Pick up your copy of the October issue of pv magazine for an in-depth look at the fire hazards associated with lithium-ion battery systems, with a focus on the Victorian Big Battery fire in Australia which has attracted worldwide attention. Additionally, Saul Griffith, the electrification guru, chats with pv magazine on overhauling the climate conversation; we dive into the evolution of residential PV in China; and we continue our coverage of global photovoltaic supply chain issues and ask: is there an alternative to Made in China?

“China’s central role in global clean energy technology value chains, as a developer and producer of technologies, as well as a user, will be enhanced by a faster energy transition,” the document said. ‘IEA, before adding, China’s dominance over the global solar power and battery manufacturing industries can be replicated in areas such as fuel cell technology and electrolyzers, if the country opts for a faster race to net zero.

On the sourcing and processing of raw materials, which has so irritated policymakers in Europe and the United States, the 304-page study adds: gives it a significant competitive advantage over other countries.

These are sentiments likely to be less welcome in European capitals than the IEA’s prospect of a faster energy transition delivering a net gain of 1.3 million high-quality jobs for China – some 900,000 more than what is estimated by the APS. modeled perspectives.


Such an approach would undoubtedly be good for Chinese solar companies, with the ATS path – which would focus on net zero by mid-century, rather than the 2060 bar currently being considered – adding up to 1.4 TW of solar and wind production capacity in 29 years. time. Even the APS model estimates that 200 GW of solar power would be added each year from 2030 to 2060 – plus 57 GW per year from wind farms – although this power source would arrive alongside four 1 GW per year nuclear reactors since. last year, to ensure the largest nuclear fleet by 2060.

By 2060, the report says, nearly half of China’s PV will be on buildings with this volume of solar panels on facades and roofs representing 2.2 TW of generation capacity. If 60% of this building-based PV is used for self-consumption, the report authors calculate, around 2-3 TWh of excess electricity will be available daily for the grid – which will be significant, given the expected development of green hydrogen.

If the ambition can be raised – with the help of a strengthened Emissions Trading System (ETS) and accelerated liberalization of the electricity market – the renewable energy revolution can begin even deeper. early, with around $ 125 billion invested in solar and wind facilities from 2025-30, securing around 160 GW of generation capacity during that period, up from the 40 GW per year envisioned in the APS model.

On the green hydrogen front, the IEA notes that China intends to develop more than 2 GW of electrolyzer capacity with the 30 MW facility operating in the coal-to-olefin operation of Ningxia Baofeng Energy Group in Ningxia which is slated to expand to 100 MW this year, in a move that would see it become the world’s largest dedicated hydrogen-producing electrolyzer.

The relative youth of the country’s natural gas network offers a clear opportunity to plan for national hydrogen distribution, the study says, although the IEA expects green hydrogen, at a price of $ 1. 30-1.80 $ / kg, only becomes competitive with natural gas. “blue” version of gas and coal capture and carbon capture, by 2050.

The development of solid-state batteries will see the energy density at the cell level double this decade, the study says, helping China maintain its global leadership in the battery storage industry.


The opportunity for continued Chinese dominance over global supply chains, the focus on nuclear deployment and carbon capture and storage, and continued use of coal-fired power generation are likely to spark the concern of various commentators, but the central importance of climate change in China the ambitions to keep the increase in global temperature this century below 1.5 ° C are repeatedly emphasized.

Merely maintaining the use of China’s existing fossil fuel assets – without any new plants – will consume about a third of the “carbon budget” that a 1.5 ° C world is estimated to have until 2060, note the authors of the report.

Returning to the issue of global cooperation in a line of the report that may already seem dated amid new diplomatic tensions with the United States and Australia, the IEA document notes that the fight against climate change “is a race against time, not against each other “.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of pv magazine.

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